There was an unexpected, emotional moment in tonight's Emmerdale (12th December), as Arthur Thomas (Alfie Clarke) told family friend Nicola King (Nicola Wheeler) that he is gay.


Over the past few episodes of the ITV soap, it's been clear to viewers that Arthur is struggling. What began as an awkwardness around friend April Windsor (Amelia Flanagan), who has had a crush on her pal, soon turned into a bigger issue - and it was Nicola who was able to get through to the young man.

First, though, Arthur was seen visiting late father Ashley's (John Middleton) grave, looking like he had the weight of the world on his shoulders. When local vicar Charles Anderson (Kevin Mathurin) approached him, Arthur spoke about his worry that he might be letting his dad down - clearly focused on Ashley's strong Christian beliefs.

Charles talked of his own son Ethan (Emile John), and the clues were all there as to what Arthur was struggling over. But the situation escalated when he snapped at poor April, who merely wanted to resume their friendship as she tried to encourage him to open up to her.

Later, as Nicola was minding Arthur's younger sister Dotty along with her own kids, she confronted Arthur over his treatment of April. Knowing that there was something bothering him, Nicola was gentle and kind while standing firm that he should know better than to speak to April so terribly.

With the younger children abandoning their game of hangman to head upstairs, Arthur asked Nicola if she would play the game with him. As she guessed various letters to work out what Arthur wanted to say, she soon understood his message and helped Arthur fill in the final letter to spell out the words: 'I am gay'.

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Arthur was shaken, and Nicola gave his hand a supportive squeeze before he turned to give her a hug. Arthur confided in Nicola that he still couldn't say the words out loud, and she assured him that, in time, he would.

But he wasn't yet ready to tell anyone else about his sexuality - including his mum Laurel Thomas (Charlotte Bellamy). Nicola promised not to tell anyone, but reminded Arthur that Laurel would immediately wrap him in her arms and love him just the same.

These beautiful, powerful scenes were surely up there with some of the best of the year, with stunning performances from actors Clarke and Wheeler. We'll now have to wait and see how Arthur navigates his sexuality in the weeks to come - but he may have another hurdle to deal with first.

As Nicola and Arthur were talking, her son Elliot arrived downstairs and hid as he accidentally overheard their conversation. Could Elliot reveal Arthur's secret before he's ready, or will he prove to be the true friend Arthur needs right now?

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Emmerdale airs on weekdays at 7:30pm on ITV and ITV Hub. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide, or visit our Soaps hub.


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